I love the fact that we live in a time where healthcare advances make it possible for people to live longer. It’s a blessing that our kids have spent many more years with their grandparents than either my husband or I did.
Over the past few years, my husband and I have taken on additional responsibilities related to the care of our aging parents.
We’ve had to navigate a minefield of tough decisions and choices—many of them across long distances because not all of those we care for are local. We’re happy to have the opportunity to assist our parents, but at times it’s been difficult.
Then I look around at our friends who are still in the military. They are following the same path of care for their aging relatives, but within the confines of military life. These families need our help. Many of them are forced to make heart-breaking decisions across long distances. They want to be there for their parents, but it’s just not possible.
As the faith community, we can help the aging and offer to come alongside the families caring for them:
1) Get to know those aging citizens in your community whose families live far away. Introduce yourself to families when they visit and let them know you want to be a resource.
2) Stay in touch with those families. It’s hard to know what’s actually going on with a loved one unless you’re close by. We can be the eyes and ears for families who are far away.
3) Offer to accompany an aging parent to the doctor. It’s hard enough to remember what a physician says when we’re young. But for the elderly, it can be much more difficult. By being there, you give far-away families peace of mind.
These are just a few ways we can help. When we try to tackle this challenge alone, it can be an impossibility. When we come together as a community, the impossible becomes manageable.